“Tack the sails starboard 12 degrees and tie off those nippers! We’re far from done yet boys!” Captain Shepard hollered with a ferocity that could rival the oceans, it wasn’t long until Ms. Keyfate began to second those orders, working with her Bosun to assure they were followed efficiently. Mr. Cochran, her first mate, had the helm, freeing her to look behind at the approaching storm. A murder of six hundred hell crows chased them across the southern end of Lake Windermere. They had left Pelagius three days ago and where headed back for Clear Lake with cargo and news; that’s when this swarm of death crows attacked. They had attempted to fight at first but quickly learned that their numbers were too great, now they were running trying to make it back to Pelagius. Unfortunately the wind was steadily from the south, causing them to either fight it to head back, or put them in line for a five day race if they ran for Chistles Point. “Mr. Campos!” she called to the ship’s mage, her voice still carrying clearly
“Captain?” the skinny blue robed man called back, he stood in front of the main mast on mid deck, a good sixty feet ahead of her. His stringing brown hair soaked with spare accented the deep black bags under his eyes, the man looked exhausted… they all did.
“Can you change this wind for us? Or at least dull the wind we’re fighting?” The wizards face fell, she felt for him, she could tell he really wanted to give her better news, but it wasn’t going to happen, nothing easy ever happened on the Krakens Exodus.
“No Captain, a few short bursts in your main and port sails, that’s all I have left” he said, his pericing green eyes letting her know that he was holding nothing back, his spells were all but gone, and she’d best not bet on a magical miracle
“Fair…” she called to him, adjusting her hat to hide her disappointment, it was hardly his fault, he’d been casting strong for almost six hours now. She turned to her the Faun just left of the wizard “Bosun Enadoroug, prepare to bring us around, Hard A’Port!”
“Hard a Port heard Captain!” he called back “LADS, WERE BRINGIN’ ER AROUND ON THE PORT SIDE, GET ‘ER READY TO DANCE!” the fauns voice boomed out as he ran towards the bow calling specific orders, his hoofs clacking loudly off the deck muting the footsteps of the other sailors. Dana Shepard smiled, they had only been sailing for a month and already she was impressed by her crew. Sure she’d spent the better part of that month trying to train the faun’s odd terminology out, but it seemed as if that task were truly impossible. She looked to her first mate, who nodded having heard the order and was ready for her command. He was tall, well over six feet and built barrel chested, one of the few who didn’t require a strength potion to man the helm in even the fiercest storms; she was glad to have him their today, he was fatigued, she could tell the difference between the thick beads of sweat on his brow and the light speckles of mist, yet he never flagged nor did he drop his decorum, the man would live and die a gentlemen right to the very end. She looked past him to her Master Gunner, Earnest Jimenez, a little young for his role, but a hell of a shot, and an uncanny knack for remembering what type of ammunition killed what time of creature, and handy talent to have in this war.
“Mr. Jimenez, have the ballista and the port stinger armed and ready, and arm anyone Ms. Keyfate and the Bosun can spare, crossbows if you please”
“Aye Aye Captain!” he hollered a little overeager, actually jumping a little. He’d been sore when she’d ordered the ammunition conserved after their first sally with the murder, now he was getting his second chance.
“Mr. Jimenez, time is of the essence, a single Aye will suffice as acknowledgement” just because there was to be battle didn’t mean that dramatics were required, and it would be good for him to take a page from Mr. Cochrans book.
“Aye Captain” the Master Gunner replied slightly subdued from his earlier enthusiasm, he began unlocking the first starboard crate and passing out crossbows to crew members.
“Ms. Keyfate, slow us by a half a naught, Mr. Campos, once we come around I will be counting on you to give us a burst while Ms. Keyfate finds our wind” crisp nods came from the two. She glanced across her crew once more assuring everything was as it should be. The Master Gunner had two men loading the Stinger while Little Pam ran about handing out crossbow bolts where needed. Mr. Avery poked his head above deck and gave her the thumbs up, the surgeons quarters were ready for the flow of patients that were soon to come. Even Paige her cabin girl stood nobly beside her, ready to run messages or lend a hand where required. “Kelezandri, be with your faithful today as we sail through and spit in the faces of your enemies” she whispered the prayer, and looked back again; the murder had gained and would overtake them soon. “Mr. Campos perhaps a mist as we make our turn?” the mage shook his head before she finished. She nodded lips pursed “Fine, let them witness the glory of Kelezandri’s finest crew, MR. COCHRAN… BRING US AROUND!”
To Be Continued